English doubling wine ready for the Olympics
English wine production will more than double by 2012 – in time for the Olympics.
Around 20 new vineyards were planted last year. Most of these were for the production of sparkling wine and planted with the traditional Champagne grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and, to a lesser extent, Pinot Meunier, according to English Wine Producers. However, other varieties are also being planted for still wine, with Bacchus leading the way.
Current plantings, including those for this year, are around 1,250 hectares, according to Stephen Skelton MW, author of The Wines of Britain & Ireland, the Third Edition of which will be published this summer.
Vineyard hectarage has been growing in the UK since 2003. Before that, there was a high in the early 1990s, then a decline just afterwards. Official figures show that there were 773 hectares of vineyards five years ago, which means that plantings have increased by over 60% since then.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Bacchus, Reichensteiner and Seyval Blanc are the top five grapes being grown, based on 2007 data.